East London’s Victoria Park provides a lovely green space for a weekend walk, a space that has recently become even lovelier now that the East London Liquor Company has set up shop next door for weekend whistle whetting.
The makers of our Gin of the Month, Batch 1, ELLC also decided to add a bar and a bottle shop to its premises. The bar brings guests in for cocktails. The bottle shop lets guests leave with cocktails. Not a bad combo!
Decked out as a New York style hipster haven, the ELLC bar doesn’t really maintain a regular themed menu, but its cocktails have a lot to do with the distillery’s gin. Bar Manager Jamie McKie and Head of Drinks Development Mikey Pendergast (a native Canadian who also makes cocktails with maple syrup) are tailoring their cocktails to complement the characteristics of their three gins. For instance, there’s the Darjeeling Sour, a twist on a standard sour recipe that uses a homemade liqueur made with Darjeeling tea to bring out the Darjeeling botanical seeped in Batch 1.
Not only do cocktails like the Darjeeling Sour show off ELLC’s gins, they also show off the experimental and chemistry talent of the distillery’s staff. The homemade Darjeeling liqueur is but one in an array of liqueurs, syrups and bitters that the bar staff is playing with. It helps to have toys such as the sous-vide vacuum-sealed apparatus that Mikey uses to make the Darjeeling liqueur which he says helps to clean the palette between cocktails in addition to moving along the digestion process.
Apart from complementing their gins with their cocktail menu, the ELLC bar stays seasonal. In the run up to Christmas, it is featuring a Sherry Cobbler yet one made with gin and a Mandarin-orange shrub made in-house with cider vinegar, blossom honey, and the skin and flesh of mandarin oranges.
In the bottle shop, ELLC features not only its own gins but also the fine cocktail-related products of companies it represents in the UK. ELLC’s owner and founder Alex Wolpert took a road trip up the coast of California a few months before his stills produced their first drop of gin where he visited the independent distillery of Lost Spirits whose rums and whiskies it sells, the Sonoma County Distilling Co. whose rye is represented by ELLC, and LA’s Miracle Mile Bitters Co. which produces a line of premium bar staples.
The best part about visiting the ELLC bar and bottle shop apart from visiting the distillery and getting to see the gin and vodka made in front of you is your temporary status as a lab rat. Jamie and Mikey will mix up something new and test it on you to see if they add it to the ever-changing menu. So when you visit the ELLC distillery be prepared and be honoured - you may be the first person ever to taste what could become a world-renowned cocktail.